Today, we will start our speech presentations. You will have the first twenty minutes of class to read through your speech, practice your presentation skills, and get ready to present in front of the class. You are not required to memorize your speech; however, you also should not simply read off of your paper at the front of the class. Please see the aspects of physical delivery from Jim Peterson:
Aspects of Physical Delivery:
- Effective voice use involves several elements. Naturally, one of the most important aspects is volume. As a speaker, you must be loud enough to be heard by everyone in the room, but not so loud that you sound unnatural or bossy. Monitor the nonverbal feedback of audience members in the back of the room, if they are leaning forward or concentrating abnormally hard, you may need to speak up. It is also necessary to vary the pitch, rate, and tone of your voice to avoid sounding monotonous. We’ve all experienced the agony of listening to a monotonous-voiced speaker. This doesn’t mean that you need to be extremely flamboyant or obnoxious. Overall, you should just strive for a casual, conversational voice.
- Your audience gathers a lot of information from your facial expressions. If your facial expressions and your spoken words conflict, the audience is likely to believe your face. So make sure that your facial expressions mesh with the feelings and ideas being expressed. Basically, a good rule of thumb for facial expressions (as well as gestures) is to do what comes naturally. There is no need to be overly theatrical with your facial expressions in a speech. And remember, if it’s at all appropriate, you can’t go wrong with a smile.
- The simple rule on eye contact is this: The more, the better. A good strategy for eye contact is to make brief (a beat or two) eye contact with members of the audience in one section of the audience and then move to another section. Ideally, you should be making eye contact with someone whenever words are being spoken in your speech. Beware of this trap: People naturally tend to focus their eye contact on the person that is giving them the best nonverbal feedback (smiling, nodding, etc.). If you find yourself focusing too much on this person, work on moving to others.
- One of the most common questions that people have about public speaking is: What do I do with my hands? The quick and easy answer is: Whatever comes naturally. The key to good gesturing is variety, which most of us have in our everyday gestures.
- The final aspect of physical delivery is movement. If you are positioned behind a podium, your movements are obviously going to be restricted. But if you are not using a podium, feel free to walk to different parts of the stage as you deliver your speech. This keeps different parts of the audience involved and adds variety. Don’t just wander in place, though. If your feet move, go somewhere.
While your classmates present, you will offer warm and cool comments for each presenter. Be specific when offering feedback so your speaker can actually learn from your comments. When offering feedback, remember to:
Be Kind – Critique the work, not the person
Be Specific – Not “It’s cool” or “OMG, I like it”
Be Helpful – Use “I” statements and questions
BAD examples of feedback:
- That was bad.
- You did great!
- Have you thought about planting your feet? I was distracted by your rocking back and forth.
- I hated it!
- You are perfect.
Why are the examples above ineffective?
- “I really like how you…”
- “You did a great job at…”
- “It was clear that you worked hard on…”
- “It was really interesting when you…”
- “You may want to consider…”
- “I noticed that you…. It may be more useful to…”
- “Have you thought about…”
- “It was unclear to me when you…”
After receiving feedback, the speaker should always say “Thank you.” Then they may do any or all of the following:
- write notes on the feedback in their journals or notebooks
- verbally respond to the feedback with peers
- table the feedback (if it is not helpful or if the speaker does not agree)